Book him Norman!

Book him Norman!

DSC01374Some people talk about writing books. Others get on and write them.

It takes a certain level of discipline to write a book. It always has. But never more so than today when there are so many distractions for an author.

Norman Giller has written his 100th book. Yes, you read that correctly. 100. Now that’s what I call prolific. If unkind you could suggest that a Tottenham Hotspur supporter would have plenty of time to write books. That typing is more exciting than watching Spurs. But I’m not an unkind person.

Norman Giller co-wrote my favourite football book. He and his friend Jimmy Greaves published ‘This One’s On Me.’ If you can find a copy, buy it. And there’s a great photo of a very young Norman Giller. He’s sat on a tube train with West Ham United manager Ron Greenwood. The pair are talking football. Greenwood has the FA Cup on his lap. Imagine such a scenario today.

fa cup ron

I recall fondly my early days working in Fleet Street. It was 1977. Along with my sports editor, the late Mike Morris, we worked in the morning and went to the pub at lunchtime. Some days we actually came out of the pub and went back to work. But not often.

In the pub, or at Scribes, I was in awe. I was surrounded by the best sportswriters of the day. Some were sober. Most were not. But they could write brilliantly no matter what state they were in.

Some people don’t want to approach their favourite film or pop stars for fear of saying something silly. As my subsequent 25 year career in television proved, it’s often best if you do not meet your childhood heroes.

Back in the day when Fleet Street was Fleet Street, I found myself sharing bars and press boxes with some legends of the back pages. I dare not approach the senior writers. They were Premier League to my non league status. Funnily enough, decades later, I would be inviting many of those writers to appear on programmes I produced for Sky Sports and Sky Sports News.

But it was only much more recently that I finally got to sit down with the aforementioned scribe, Norman Giller. There was so much I wanted to talk to him about that I suspect I will have to pay him another visit soon to exchange TV memories. After all, Norman has many more strings to his bow than writing about football and boxing.

For several years he wrote the scripts for ‘This Is Your Life.’ He’s worked with his good friend, actor Ricky Tomlinson, on books and TV projects. Norman can claim not only to have known Muhammad Ali, but also Eric Morecambe. The chances are Norman met anyone who was anyone when it came to sport and entertainment across three decades or more.

Book number 100 is called ‘Headlines Deadlines All My Life.’ I shall be buying a copy and you can get your hands on a signed copy via this link



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